Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 - The year...

...was a tough one to be honest. There were however, several great things that happened this year. Some of them are as follows:

1) Getting back to Photography : I have always loved Photography, but I stopped clicking in 2010 & 2011, one big reason for this was non-availability of film and I have been a film-loyalist all this while. In 2012 I decided to move on and shift to digital. I am thankful to Zara and Rajiv for their constant encouragement and  guidance. This is therefore also the year when I got my first DSLR. 

Window | Shimla

2) Turning 30 : Yes, it does sound a bit too much but I did turn 30 this year. The celebrations took place in Nainital. The trip was very random and relaxed... just the way it should be.

Walk by the lake ...

3) Exploring Madhya Pradesh : Madhya Pradesh is indeed a huge state, and it would take me months to discover the state fully. I am glad I at-least made a start this year. I went on a Motorcycle ride to Orchha with Zara and this surely was one of the most awesome trip of my life.

Motorcycling in the heart of India

4) Making Videos : I have always enjoyed making videos, and this year with the DSLR and a set of newly acquired prime lenses it felt even better. Video content is a powerful medium today and I believe this skill will surely help me make some extra money :) 

5) Acquiring new skills at work : I learnt a lot about Social Media Optimization and Content Marketing this year. It is truly overwhelming, as I discovered this will be the future of marketing and there is so much opportunity out there for people like me. This makes me optimistic about 2013, makes me feel my time has come :)

Watch Maker | Explored

Thursday, November 1, 2012

10 signs that you are not a photographer but a DSLR operator

1) Most of your pictures are clicked around your house and they feature pigeons sitting on cables, stray dogs sleeping on road and squirrels on trees.

      2) Most of your pictures have such high contrasts that they actually hurt.

      3) You have just learnt selective coloring/selective saturation and do not hesitate to show off your editing skills at all, it is all over your photos.

      4) You give philosophical names to your pictures ‘life goes on’, ‘life is struggle’ and the all time chart-buster ‘reflections of life’

      5) You just can’t get the horizon straight, well ofcourse you are different and a follower of Steve Jobs

       6) You love standing in front of the mirror with your eyes set in viewfinder and clicking your super hot profile picture

       7) Depth of Field/bokeh is the biggest kick in your life. You have already posted several key-board pictures (both Mac and PC) with one key in focus and rest blurred, and needless to say they are some of your best pictures.

      8) You learnt how to watermark pictures and how to run your own Facebook photography page before you knew the difference between a crop-censor and full-format camera

       9) When you see someone’s picture on Facebook, and it is slightly better than yours (which can’t happen a lot ofcourse) … you quickly ask for EXIF data. More often than not that picture will be clicked from a better gear than yours, so there isn’t much you can do about it.

      10) You are the best photographer you know! 

    My photography page : :)

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    Meeting school friend...

    Your well-paying job
    in that expanding MNC.
    With expensive coffee machines,
    super-fast internet,
    exhausted printer and idle shredder.
    Those spreadsheets, presentations,
    deadlines, columns and rows.

    Your 3-BHK apartment
    in a posh society.
    With courteous security guards,
    parking space for cars,
    quiet poolside and noisy gym.
    Those fast elevators, balconies,
    gardens with pigeons and crows.

    Your high-flying life
    in a comfortable cocoon.
    With extravagant parties,
    multi-cuisine meals,
    tight clothing and loose behavior.
    Those expensive wines, luxury hotels,
    mindless movies to tackle the lows.

    I was happy we got in touch,
    so long after school.
    Within minutes of meeting I realized,
    you haven’t really grown,
    deep pockets and shallow conversations.
    Big car, swiss watch, thai-holday and
    your office-politics woes.
    It means nothing to me,
    when you don’t read my friend,

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    5 reasons to fall in love with the Delhi summer.


    1)      Longer days: It technically means you can do much more. Going for an early morning jog to any of those beautifully landscaped gardens or riding through the dimming evening light. These longer days leave you with so much more time to explore this beautiful city. From its architecture that changes shades as the sun retreats into its shadows, the growing hustle bustle around street food joints, the endless wide roads lined by a multiple hue of green, yellow and red. Somehow, waking up early is much easier in this season than any-other.


    2)      Blooming Amaltaas: No wonder those summer dresses are mostly yellow, this is surely the colour of this season. In Delhi, when nature picks up that yellow…it does cast a spell whizzing you into that fantastical, ethereal neverland. Especially during a motorcycle ride, the lovely amaltaas leave you spellbound… when  you look up all you see is a bright yellow haze against the deepening blue… you look down and a yellow dotted carpet rides along with you…  It surely is surreal to say the least.

    Cycling | Delhi

    3)      Mangoes and Musk Melons: A day in the month of May. The mercury is flirting around the 45 degrees mark, it is a Saturday afternoon and it is too hot to venture outside. You walk up to the refrigerator and much to your delight find it stacked, heaps with those big yellow mangoes (takes you back to those  Nursery class “Aa se AAM” pictures). To top it all, the extremely juicy musk-melon. This summer is definitely all juice.. pulp... slurp and burp…

    4)      Beer: Picture this! There is a steaming Football and Tennis match on Television or  ‘I shouldn’t be Alive’ or ‘Banged-up abroad’…the living room only feels warmer… what else do you need?!!! A full bottle of Kingfisher costs 65 rupees and a pint comes for 35 bucks!  Oops, if you are not a beer person…try the local Bunta or Nimbu-Soda.

    Evening at Lodhi Gardens

    5)      Spectacular Sky: Most of the hot evenings of this season are compensated by an outrageously beautiful sky. A bright noisy blue, with shreds of yellow ‘reshamy’ clouds. You can just stand in your balcony and gaze it for hours, without expecting rains. In case you love photography, this is an excellent time to capture those Mughal tombs against a dynamic sky. 

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    When problem solvers become 'the problem'

    Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems. - Scott Adams

    I read this quote somewhere, and it made me think, I guess it has a greater meaning to it than Scott Adams would have known. I have always been close to engineers, in-fact some of my best friends are engineers and some of my cousins are engineers too. My father is a civil engineer and I have seen him working on tunnels, dams, railroads and power-plants since my childhood. No wonder at a very early age I got so fascinated to JCBs and CAT equipment.  I have seen him solve problems both at work and at home, he would fix households appliances himself and also encourage me to do so (which sadly I could never pick up). As I write this blog-post my dad is working in Manipur, braving out the rains to get a few tunnels done in time for the railway tracks to reach Manipur. This is what Engineering means to me and it makes the first part of the quote very sensible and true. 

    Now as we move on to the second part of the quote, I believe it has many layers to it. The first one is obvious that Engineers like to create problems and then solve those for their own joy/amusement. I wish it would just stop there… There, however, seems to be a different scenario today...

    Engineers today can’t solve problems, and to put it more clearly they themselves are the biggest problem for India. Sounds really stupid, isn’t it? Maybe even oxymoronic? Engineers are known to build, to create value and off-course to solve problems. Well look around, how many Engineers are doing it? Most of the engineers from IIT become so called investment-bankers or business-analysts. Engineers in streams like Pharmaceutical, Mining, Metallurgy and Textile hardly do what they study in their engineering. In case a hand few of them ventured out in other areas (where they are still mediocre) it would have been understandable, but when everyone tries to do things which he isn’t equipped for … it becomes a problem.

    How do we solve this problem, thought the policy-makers and engineers? Well thanks to their short-sightedness and mediocre abilities one of the only answer they got was IIMs. Indian Institute of Management (IIM) is the 'holy-grail' of management education in India, what it also does is bring engineers to a level playing field. It is like a huge assembly line where these inconsistent and incompetent engineers get in and after two years they come out as at least consistent – with everyone having the same degree (and almost no ‘real’ knowledge). Getting into IIMs is not such big deal for engineers, because the paper has been designed in a way that gives them an edge over others. I wish the CAT was more robust and deep in selecting the very few, thereby justifying their selection. Essays as a part of the examination could possibly help achieve that.

    Statistically, India produces around 4 Lakh Engineers and 85% of IIM seats are taken by engineers. Now that is the huge problem. It essentially means around 70% of people coming out from IIMs can’t decipher a newspaper, 75% have no idea why is Indian GDP growing at less than 6%, 80% do not know why they went to IIM and around 85% do not know what it takes to be a ‘leader’.

    I have spent five years in corporate India, and I have come across several IIM guys. They are 'supposed' to lead India’s corporate landscape and sometimes they even do (thanks to their strong alumni affinity). In the global business landscape however, they haven't made their mark and I know for sure that they never will. 

    Friday, November 4, 2011


    किस्सा ये उन दिनों का है,
    जब मेरे पास ना नौकरी थी और ना पैसे,
    इसी कारण मेरा अधिकतर वक़्त
    घर में ही गुज़रता ...बैठे बैठे.

    उन दिनों मेरी मुलाक़ात एक
    प्रेमी युगल से हुई, हमारी दोस्ती
    झटपट हो गयी क्योंकि मेरे पास काम न था
    और उनके पास
    शायद मकान ...

    हर सुबह जब मैं अख़बार लेने अपनी
    बालकोनी में जाता, इन दोनों को
    आशा भरी नज़रों से बहार
    प्रतीक्षा करते हुए खड़ा पाता ...

    फिर मैं कुछ पल बाद
    अपनी चाय की प्याली के साथ
    बालकोनी में बैठ सुबह का आनंद लेता,
    ये दोनों भी वहीँ बैंच पर बैठते और
    मैं हाल-चाल कर लेता.

    फिर दिन भर मैं मेज़ पर बैठ
    नौकरी तलाशता,
    किताबें पढता और सिगरेट सुलगता.
    इन दोनों की चहल पहल से ही
    वो उदास घर कुछ
    जीवित लगता....

    पूरा दिन घर में गुज़ारने के बाद,
    शाम को मैं पार्क में सैर करने जाता था,
    सैर सपाटे के बाद जब मैं घर लौटता
    इन दोनों को मैं गायब पाता था.

    कुछ महीने बाद मुझे नौकरी मिल गई,
    इन दोनों के साथ मैंने अपनी ख़ुशी और मिठाई बांटी,
    मनचाहा काम, अच्छा वेतन ... मुझे लगा
    मानो ज़िन्दगी संवर गई.

    पर नहीं.
    नयी नौकरी कुछ दिनों में पुरानी होने लगी,
    मेरे निजी समय पर उसकी पकड़ भी मज़बूत होने लगी,
    धीरे-धीरे 'मेरे समय' की इस रस्साकशी में,
    नौकरी विजयी होने लगी.

    फिर दिवाली की सफाई के दौरान,
    कमरे के रोशन -दान में
    एक अधूरा घोंसला मिला,
    ठीक वहीँ जहां वो दोनों सारा दिन
    बैठे रहते थे.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Haryanvi and his wisdom

    I have taken leave from work that day to take my motor-cycle to the mechanic. I knew it will be a long day at mechanic because there was a problem in the gear-box and it takes good one day to fix it. I wanted to be the first one at the mechanic (it works on first come first serve) that morning so I left early from my place.

    When I reached there, I figured I wasn't the first one there. The first one was a lanky young man, dressed in white linen kind of shirt with dark blue denim pants to go with. Both of us waited patiently for my mechanic to turn up, finally after 35-40 minutes I saw my mechanic (Naushad Bhai) riding into the street. Naushad bhai is a man with very small built (around 5 feet and 2 inches), dark complexion (well what did you expect) and very humble personality. Naushad bhai hails from Bihar so he uses a lot of 'huzoor', 'bhai-jaan' and other goodies in his conversations (very unlike Delhi). However, like many men who seem to have inadequate vertical presence their area of influence spreads horizontally. Naushad bhai's work is well known in the whole of NCR and that day I saw it for myself.

    The man in white owned a Royal Enfield Electra (2007 model) and he has come from Palval. Palval (I was told) is a small town near Mathura and it falls in Haryana. I have heard a lot about Haryanvis, and this guy was far from that description ... but as we started talking I realized why many detest Haryanvis. The conversation that happened is as follows (needless to say I have edited some, and removed many inappropriate words ... to make my blog suitable for all ages).

    Haryanvi : Kyaa bhai, MH number ki gaadi?

    Me : Haan ji. Bombay se lee thi.

    Haryanvi : hmmmm. Yaar main kabhi Bombay nahi gaya.

    Me : Jaa ke aayiye. Kaafi sahi jagah hai

    Haryanvi: Theek hai. Kitna kharcha ho jayega?

    Me : Plan banao. Kitne din, kitne log aur kaafi aur cheezon pe depend karega na.

    Haryanvi: hmmmm. Bombay jaane mein bas ek hee tension hai ...

    Me : kya?

    Haryanvi: Roj roj jo gang-war hote hain na wahaan *beep*

    Me : Roz nahi hote. Kisne kahaa aisa?

    Haryanvi: TV mein, hamaare palval mein bhee har koi yahi bolta hai.

    Me : Hmmm. Tension mat lo, roz nahi hota. Main 6 saal wahaan raha hoon.

    Haryanvi: Fir toh theek hai, ab yeh batao kharcha kitna hoga?

    Me : (Hoping he could read the irritation on my face, but I was expecting too much) hmmm, dekhte hain, uske baare mein baad mein baat karenge.

    Haryanvi: Haan theek hai. Waise mujhe darr nahi hai ... par apan kyu gang war mein padein. *beep* Jindagi mein sukoon hona chahiye, kisi cheej ki hawas nahi honi chahiye. Apna simpil jindagi honi chahiye.

    Me : Jee

    Haryanvi: Hamare yahaan kahawat hai ki jo aadmi ne pahan liya aur jo kha liya bas wohi uska hota hai. Uske alawa sab kuchh yahin chhoot jayega.

    Me : Sahi baat hai

    Haryanvi: Sikandar, itna bada raaja thha. Jab woh mara toh uske saath kya gaya?

    Me : Kuchh nahi

    Haryanvi: Wohi toh.

    Me : (I was thinking when will it end...) sahi baat hai

    Haryanvi: Imaandaari se apna kaam karo, Naushad ki tarah. (Naushad I am sure is used to such praises; he was busy with my gearbox). Naushad ke paas isliye log itna door se aate hain kyunki yeh imaandaar hai.

    Me : (I knew it somehow...) haan woh toh hai

    Haryanvi: (To Naushad) Bhai, jaldi meri gaadi bhee dekh liyo aaj haajiri lagaane jaana hai.

    Me : (I don't know why but I did ask him) Hajiri?

    Haryanvi: Haan bhai ... yahi saala *beep* court kachheri kee hajiri

    Me : aap ? Kyoon ? (for some reason I was not surprised)

    Haryanvi: Property ka kaam hai na apna bhai ...

    Me : hmmm

    Haryanvi: Roz ka hee hai *beep* Kabhi hamare peechhe police wale maame, kabhi court wale taaoo. Hum hamesha aage hee rahte hain (laughs)

    Me : aage rahna bhee chahiye life mein (didn't know what else to say)

    Haryanvi: aage toh hamesha see hee rahe hain, kisi ko bhee ladh bajaana ho ... ghar mein hee bees log hain. Kisi baahar wale ki zaroorat nahi hai *beep*. Bas brothar life mein ek kami rah gayi ...

    Me : Kya (I was so sure he will say a trip to Bangkok)

    Haryanvi: Padhayi zyaada nahi kar paya (Damn !! I was disappointed). Ingliss ki kami kaafi lagti hai mujhe. Aap ko toh ingliss aati hogi na?

    Me : Haan jee. Thodi bahut ...

    Haryanvi: Brothar, mujhe apne saath kaam pe rakh lo. Ingliss sikha do bas, baaki toh hamari life mein koi kami na hai.

    Me : Bhai sahab aap english newspaper padha karo, english films dekha karo aur seekh jaoge.

    Haryanvi : Lekin mining (pronounced as mining in coal-mining) kaun batayega?

    Me : Mining ?????

    Haryanvi: Haan, 'maai-neeeng'

    Me : aaah, (i finally joined the dots) ... dictionary.

    Haryanvi : Itni mehnat kaun karega. Waise mehnat kaafi zaroori hai, mehnat ke aage duniya jhukti hai. Naushad itni mehnat karta hai isi liye he toh hum *beep* palval se yahaan tak aate hain. Kyun bhai Naushad sahi hai na ??

    He started talking to Naushad and I made an exit. I had to make a conversation with him in the evening as well, but that’s another story.